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CynicAle - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,288 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,288
Reviews: 585
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.3%
Wants: 233
Gots: 134 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tavernjef on 06-02-2006

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,288 | Reviews: 585 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of schiebout
5/5  rDev +25.6%

Photo of djschnabel
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Sender
5/5  rDev +25.6%

Photo of tbeq00
5/5  rDev +25.6%

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Brandon for this in the n00b BIF
Canned 10-5-11

A - Crystal clear golden straw body with a sizable white head. Nice

S - yeasty, zesty, vanilla. Nice stuff.

T - Crisp and smooth. Nice slightly dry flavors. Some vanilla, some earth, some citrus tartness. Good flavor.

M - Smooth, dry, medium body.

O - A solid all-around beer. Very enjoyable.

Photo of harrymel
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Canned 06SEP11 A: caramel with three fingers of egg whites whipped atop fall in a few minutes to a solid sheet of the same with cobweb lace. Near excellent clarity. (4) S: grainy yeast and peppercorns with slightly sweet oats. The belgian yeast dominates. (3.5) T: Again, yeasty. Classic saison flavors of lemon, pepper, sharp sour yeast flavors. Lasting finish is reminiscent of a slightly underdeveloped apricot. (3.5) M: medium on full bodied with moderately high carbonation and a dry finish. (3) O: Not a bad example, but far from the upper echelon. Won’t be going out of my way for this one. (3.5)

Photo of AmericanGothic
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into a Unibroue tulip. Canned on 10/5/11.

A: Pours a clear, golden orange color with 1-1/2 fingers of billowy ecru head. Good retention and lace.

S: Nice Belgian fruity esters, bubble gum, light but piercing pepper aroma.

T: Leads with bubble gum, slowly fades uncovering the light pepper and a little bitter bite on the end. A little heat from the alcohol on the end, noticeable but not obtrusive. The pepper becomes a little more prominent over the course of the glass, but never gets out of hand.

M: Medium mouthfeel, creamy carbonation and slightly astringent.

O: This is a tasty beer, nothing fancy but it does hit all the right notes. One more reason for a road trip north.

Photo of NuclearDolphin
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 20oz. Stein

Appearance - Slightly Darker Orange with a slight hint of amber around the edges. Pours a nice 2 finger head that leaves behind a small amount of lacing. For a beer that's as dark as this one, it's pretty transparent.

Smell - Rich bread and yeast scents along with a mild spicy aroma. There are some very prominent sweet notes thrown into the flavor as well.

Taste - Very mild black pepper and spicy kick are felt upon first drinking, with that sweet bread/yeast flavor. You can also taste the sweet floral hops used in this beer.

Mouthfeel - It's a pretty easy beer to drink if you can look past the slight spiciness of it all. Body is a bit on the lighter side which is typical. The carbonation starts out moderate and eventually tapers off.

Overall - It's a beer that seems perfect for pretty much any occasion, whether it's sitting down to try it out or just to throwback while watching a football game.
It's a pretty unique beer in it's own right, but in a very good way It's sweet/spiciness flavor will be off-putting to some, but those looking for a slightly different kind of beer should try this out.

Photo of larryi86
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz can dated 9/6/11 poured into a snifter
Thank you hockeyd for this!

A- A slightly hazy golden color with a two finger white head that fades quickly.

S- Belgian yeast, light fruitiness, light floral hops, nice malt backbone. Nice aroma.

T- Follows the nose, hops show up in the finish, a lot of yeast, bready, hint of pepper

M- Crisp, light body.

O- A nice Saison, but doesn't seem to have the high level complexity that I enjoy in other Saisons. I am happy that I still have three cans and probably will hide one away to see how it ages.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from can into my Duvel Tulip. Color was a hazy amber with about one finger of white head with very slight lacing.

Funky, fruity farmhouse aroma, a hint of pepper perhaps.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, medium bodied with lite carbonation. Very refreshing.

I'm a big fan of farmhouse ales/saisons and I could drink alot of this.

Photo of exonthebottle
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

this beer is very aggressive in coriander flavor. I never been a fan of coriander and this feels over the top to me. the beer itself is light and a bit watery. does not taste like a saison. more of an american version. not impressed Surly makes a great IPA so far nothing else

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If you had asked me what Surly beer I really wanted to try, it would not have been this one; I never even knew it existed it until I got it as an extra in a trade with tripelhops (thanks again, Brian). Well, it’s Surly, so it’s probably gonna rock. Which is a great feeling…I love not having to worry when you get a beer you’ve never heard of, just because the brewery’s so damn good.

A: Rich orange haze in the body, lighter than pumpkin but darker than orange rind. The head’s a good white cream, but with minimum retention. Very light lacing here and there. Interesting look, though not super-appealing…

S: …but it has one hell of a nose! Estery, funky Belgian yeast, incredibly banana-heavy, with a ton of breads. It’s a perfect partner for the creamy malts, which exhibit more than a handful of thick grains and sweet cream. I’m getting some fruity and herbal scents, too: Band-Aid, lemon zest, light apricot, and slight kick of cinnamon-sugar. Excellent! The hops are hidden, but very earthy and European in aroma. I love this nose.

T: Interesting, in a very, very nice way. Bready, funky yeasts are big (love ‘em), with bold banana tastes, as well. The rest of the palate is really just a great mix of sweet/bitter: peppery hops that come off astringent, spicy, and earthy, versus a sweet, pub-style malt. Good amount of depth to the palate: lemon, light caramel/vanilla, cake batter, grapefruit, apricot, and cardamom all come into play. Aftertaste is appropriately funky, played up by a bready astringency (as if you had just bitten into a biscuit and have nothing to drink). Very well-made, very balanced, very tasty.

M: In a European-style beer like this, a certain English-pub-wateriness is appropriate. And that’s exactly what I’m getting – mild-to-medium carbonation, palpable amounts of refreshing water, and a very light creaminess.

O: I’m really starting to get into this funky farmhouse style, and this had just the right sweetness to keep it drinkable for a newbie like me. Like I said, I would never have put this beer on a list of Top Surly Wants; as it stands, though, I love it! I guess that’s the power of trading – thanks again, Brian!

Photo of greenmonstah
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint can into Hill Farmstead belgian stem.

A - Pours a clear yellow with a copper hue. Nice 1-2 finger white head grows and stays around for ages before turning into a half finger head that never leaves. Lacing is average.

S - Belgian yeast buried in sweetly bready malt. Citrus in the form of light lemon is present. Herbal.

T - Lemony, peppery, and finishing bready. The Belgian yeast flavor adds a little kick. The finish is warmly bready and very pleasant.

M - Light body, but can be slightly cloying. Lingers a bit. Dries after a few moments.

D - Saison in a can! And a damn good one. I'd drink this all the time if I were in Surly territory.

Photo of Mississipping
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a completely clear golden-straw color with a medium white head that rises quickly and takes it time to recede.  Some lacing left behind on the edges of the glass, but not enough to impress.  Pretty nice looking.

S: Mild bready malts with a touch of honey up front.  A bit of a grassiness and some floral hops.  Really nice smelling, but somewhat subdued for the style.  Not as complex smelling as I was hoping for. 

T: Sweet malt and honey up front.  While dominant at the forefront, the sweetness is not overpowering.  The earthy qualities sneak in toward the middle with a bit of grass and sage.  The finish is slightly hoppy with some bitter lemon.  Very well balanced. 

M: Pretty thin with a good amount of carbonation.  Starts out sweet but finishes slightly bitter and drying.  Nice feel on the tongue during and after each sip.

D: Really easy to drink.  Balanced well and tasty, but is a little less complex than some of my favorite saisons.  This one is certainly good, but doesn't hold up in comparison to many others in the style.  I think I had my hopes up a bit, but was slightly let down.

Photo of fo5s
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can served in an oversized coast tumbler. No dating on the can - not sure if Surly dates any of the cynic.

A- pours a light amber with an unimpressive, half finger head.

S- nose is grainy, a touch of fruit, floral. Yeasty.

T- dry floral, peppery, some dull fruit - maybe more toward apple than peach or apricot (as suggested on the can).

M- on the dry side, but not overly so. Carbonation is a bit thin.

O- overall a great everyday saison. Not the best in show nor my favorite of the style, but an appropriately priced saison that would be a mainstay in my fridge but for Surly's limited distribution. Well done on this.

Photo of oline73
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy amber with a half finger of white head that goes away pretty quickly.

Smell: Herbal notes with some citrus, malt, and yeast spice.

Taste: There is a very strong herbal presence with some citrus notes mixed in. There is a hop bitterness in the finish along with some spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I really liked the herbal notes in this one. The bitterness in the finish was a bit much, but I still really liked it. I would have another.

Photo of zimm421
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 oz can into a shaped pint glass. Appears a hazy yellow color with a hint of orange. Has a fluffy white head that sticks for a while and leaves slight lacing, as well as a constant film on top of the beer.

Nose is full of wheat, lemon, yeast and pepper. Has a nice aroma that is very inviting. Taste is very similar but with a stronger pepper note. The spiciness is left on your tongue after each sip. Everything works together in great ways here.

Mouthfeel is fairly light, but just where it should be in my opinion. There is a good amount of carbonation, about average for the style. Overall, this is a very refreshing beer after a day outside. Makes it very easy to relax and it all goes down so easily and the flavor complexity is great.

Photo of jsprain1
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Just a touch darker than golden. Head is thick and stays at one fingers. A couple rings of lacing.
S- Smell is extremely yeast-spice driven. Strong peppery aroma. Good, but it is lacking the depth in aroma I like from the style.
T- Complex, but a mixed bag of flavors for me. There is a solid spicey, peppery flavor, there is a light banana note, and there is a bit of a plasticy flavor, which is not so good. A light bit of citrus, noticable in the finish.
M- Dry finish, medium-light body, medium carbonation.
O- A fun take on the style. The plasticy element of the flavors are a detraction for me, but it is pleasantly complex. Worth a shot.

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice extra from mnbearsfan! Poured into a pint glass, golden, clear, typical Surly carbonation, not spectacular but good looking. The aromas are familiar, some farmhouse aroma, a little ester-y, banana, some clove and spice and faintly hoppy. A very pleasant experience for my nose. The flavor is rather nice. It is round and soft, it is fruity, slightly musty, and has some bubblegum, banana and clove. Very yeast driven flavors with some hop bitterness and flavor, citrus flavor. Dry, but sadly just not dry enough for the style. A good beer for sure, but it is such a hard style and a saturated style too. I'd seek it out again, and soon.

Photo of kittywamp
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a golden yellow color with a white film head

smells like pepper and citrus

mouth feel like lightly carbonated and creamy goodness

overall what a wonderful beer. It is a great beer year round. I wouldnt pass this one up. its a great beer for baking beer bread or beer cheese soup.

Photo of birchstick
3.49/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on tap at the Haute Dish

A - pours a golden yellow with a small white film of a head and a lot of lacing

S - smells fruity, earthy, and some bubblegum

T - Opens up with soft grainy malts. These segue into the bubblegum that was so dominate on the nose; the bubblegum is intertwined with some fruit flavors. This is almost hefeweizen-esque. Finishes with the bubblegum lingering over the palate.

M - decent body and mouthfeel - medium and lightly carbonated despite the appearance

D - this seemed different than most saisons I have tried. More fruity and less Saisony. Worth a shot, but I will go for some other Surly offering next time.

Photo of bismarksays
2.91/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Poured a golden/light orange color with a nice amount of head and had lacing present. No complaint about appearance

S-A bit of pepper, belgian yeast, citrus, and pear. Not as intriguing as some saisons I have had, but certainly a decent nose

T/M Just bland. It has a touch of pepper, but not much. It has a touch of citrus, but not much. The Belgian yeast is okay when cold, but as it warms up, it gets musty, tasting a bit of old library book. I suppose one might call this "funk", but it is not even funky enough to be that. The mouthfeel was okay I guess, nothing wrong with the carbonation and not too sticky.

Overall- When I poured this and smelled it, I had some high hopes (or at least hope). However, it simply is not on par with Le Merle, Saison DuPont, Tank 7, Hennipen, Sofie, or any of the other go to saisons I enjoy.
Not a bad beer, but not a must have.

Photo of EgadBananas
2.66/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a soft orange color, white head of a solid finger leaving nice lace.

Aroma is lightly peppery with a soft belgian yeast note and mild citrus tones.

A bit of a spicy bite on the taste, folowed by some light fruity esters and citrus notes.

Light, creamy body, slick with pretty good carbonation.

In the end, it's really a boring Saison. Maybe having several Stillwater Saison's has ruined me. Either way, for as long as this has been a want, I'm left unsatisfied.

Photo of Phelps
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Newcastle schooner.

Fulvous brown with mild haze. Strong color. Atop is a fuzzy grayish head that pops away after a minute.

The nose: pears, black pepper, soft grain, honey. Floral and sweet.

More pepper in the flavor. Spicier Belgian esters, pear syrup, honey. Dry, cracker finish.

Medium light body, mild fizziness, light massaging carb. Bit of peppery heat on the tongue.

I have to say, a canned saison is something I’ve never experienced before. CynicAle’s an interesting brew that makes use of a myriad of international ingredients. Very drinkable and refreshing.

Photo of jsanford
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned on 5/31/11. Poured into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours a clear orange-amber with a fluffy white head that settles to a thin cap and leaves some spotty lacing as it recedes.
S - Crisp aromas of lightly toasted malt, coriander, and yeast with a touch of honey.
T - Very similar to the nose, a very nice cross between a Saison and a Pale Ale. Flavors of toasted caramel malt, honey, and coriander with a very nice floral hop character.
M - Slightly fuller mouthfeel then most Saisons, which I attribute to the oats, but still quite crisp and drinkable.
O - Sessionable Saison in a can? Yes, please! Great Summertime beer, I'd very much like a steady supply of this!

CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,288 ratings.